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MLA Business Members: Smithwick & Mariners Insurance

first published in Landings, February, 2020

One of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s (MLA) stalwart business members is Smithwick & Mariners Insurance. The company, based in Falmouth, was established in 1986 by Stephen Smithwick and Howard Clarke to provide insurance services to the marine industry, both commercial and recreational. Now run by Smithwick’s son, Scott, the company provides a broad suite of insurance products to businesses and individuals in Maine and throughout the country.

Smithwick & Mariners Insurance representatives (Scott Smithwick, center) always take part in the Maine Fishermen's Forum.

For more than 25 years, Smithwick & Mariners has managed MLA’s vessel insurance program. “The MLA has always been considered a very desirable account,” Scott Smithwick said. “It’s been a great association for us. When you think about the state of Maine, you think about lobsters. The MLA is a signature account and people recognize it as such.” From its start as an insurance company focused on marine interests, Smithwick & Mariners has expanded its range of insurance policies to include personal, commercial, life, health, and business insurance products from more than 20 carriers. It now has offices in Kennebunk, New Bedford, Massachusetts, and South Hampton, New Hampshire, in addition to ownership of the Chapman & Chapman agency of Damariscotta and Midcoast Insurance Agency in Bath. But marine insurance is still a primary focus of the company. “We’ve been around longer than dirt,” Smithwick said with a laugh. “The marine side is a niche we found appealing. The people involved are generally down-to-earth and genuine.” The world of marine insurance has seen many changes since Smithwick & Mariners began. Where once finding an insurance company willing to cover a vessel was like looking for a needle in a haystack, today a boat owner has many more choices. “Marine insurance goes through its cycles, as most of the industry does. It was a harder market then because there weren’t many companies vying for coverage. Now there are a lot more in the marketplace, which means more competition and lower prices,” Smithwick said. “Some underwriters are withdrawing because the market is saturated.” For more than two decades Smithwick & Mariners has offered a discount insurance policy to MLA members. The company does not require a layup period and offers $1,000,000 pollution coverage when P&I insurance is purchased, as well as coverage for any researchers aboard the vessel. The company also can provide Jones Act coverage for the captain, crew and owner and builders risk coverage. Older vessels, including wooden boats, can be covered. And any MLA member who has taken a Coast Guard drill conductor course in the last five years receives an addition 5% off his or her policy. Because Smithwick & Mariners is an independent insurance agency, they seek out underwriters that are sound financially with superior service to clients, in order to find the best possible rates for hull insurance as well as protection and indemnity insurance. That emphasis on service is a hallmark of Smithwick and Mariners, according to Smithwick. “Pricing is pretty competitive now,” he said. “A lot of it comes down to service at the end of the day. We’re here to answer questions and help people.”

To receive a free quote on MLA member vessel insurance, contact Scott Smithwick at 800-370-1883 or online at MLA members receive a discount on their policy.


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